The term “Internet of Things” often throws people, even in the technology industry, off balance. They begin struggling for definitions, explanations, market statistics and what not. There are those who throw multiple spanners in the works by citing security concerns (like they did with cloud). And then, those who generally do a lot of huffing and puffing.
Nothing wrong with that, actually. Any new or not-yet-mature technology segment goes through its own cycle of hype, hazards and hurrahs. So there’s no reason to treat IoT any different. Except perhaps that IoT is much bigger than a typical flavor-of-the-season type technology. (Without giving conflicting numbers but to keep things in some perspective, by 2020, billions of things/devices are to be connected and trillions of dollars in additional value will be generated.)
However, as the stats, standards and stumbling-blocks keep rolling in, the IoT pioneers and large ecosystem players continue to chip away at making it work. (Talking of chips, Intel has just bought Itseez Inc., an expert in computer vision algorithms and implementations for embedded and specialized hardware, an area of great interest to the chip giant for the automotive and video opportunities in IoT.)
I scoured the web for real-life business uses cases of IoT solutions from across different sectors and scenarios. Here are some interesting ones (including a few from India as well):
- Miami International Airport, one of the busiest US airports (over 21 million passengers in 2015) has deployed Internet-connected sensors and IoT apps to provide detailed information to passengers based on their location and needs (the MIA mobile app for Android and iOS relies on a network of 400 beacons that transmit location information throughout the airport). For passengers, the app provides personalized directions through to airport and helps them find restaurants, services and baggage carousels based on their location.
- ATI Specialty Materials, a world leader in the production of special alloys and steels for the aerospace, oil & gas, and medical industries, uses the ThingWorx IoT platform from PTC—which provides a real-time layer that connects with their manufacturing, quality, maintenance, and ERP systems and allows them to rapidly create role based decision support “dashboards” and interactive applications.
- Using AMC Health’s mobile patient monitoring solution, an active pregnant woman who needs to track her blood sugar can use a mobile device to communicate readings from her glucometer at any time and any place she chooses, and that information is stored securely in the cloud. Her care provider has 24/7 access to her information and can determine whether she, her baby or both are at risk. Using this information, the woman’s health care provider can provide more timely and appropriate care for the benefit of both mother and baby.
- Ward Aquafarms, a 1000-cage aquaculture farm in Massachusetts, USA, uses thermal radiometry sensor enabled cameras from Mobotix running on the Verizon IoT platform to collect and analyze data such as environmental and sub-tidal water temperature, chlorophyll values, etc. Combined with satellite imaging data and analyzed properly, it helps Ward in its commitment to efficient and sustainable seafood production.
- The cities of San Diego (California) and Jacksonville (Florida) are running trials that use LED streetlight technology to collect real-time data not only to manage lighting, but also to manage parking, locate and identify potholes and keep track of repairs to municipal streets.